downthetubes is undergoing some main site refurbishment...

This blog is no longer being updated

The downthetubes news blog was assimilated into our main site back in 2013.

Hop over to for other British comics news, comic creating guides, interviews and much more!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From writer and fan Simon Guerrier

Name: Simon Guerrier

Blog or web site:

Currently working on:

I'm writing lots of silly AAAGH! strips for Doctor Who Adventures (art by Brian Williamson) and have just written 100% Awesomes, a superhero comic for use in classrooms to teach kids about autism with art by William Potter

First memory of 2000AD?

My older brother read it before I did. My earliest memory is the covers from the Dredd strip City of the Damned, which were really haunting. I started buying it from 626 - hooked by Simon Bisley's take on Slaine and the amazing one-off Dredd strip, 'In the Bath'.

Favourite Character or Story?

So much to choose from, but I love DR and Quinch. "DR and Quinch go to Hollywood" is spectacular.

What do you like most about the 2000AD?

The variety. And that, at it's best, the stories were smart.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?


If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

Sadly, I've not worked for 2000AD. I have a pile of nice rejection letters, though.

• This post is one in a series of tributes to 2000AD to mark its 35th birthday on 26th February 2012. More about 2000AD at

2000AD © Rebellion

Soaring Penguin catches the Undertow

British indie publisher Soaring Penguin Books has just published its first book of 2012 - Undertow by Ellen Lindner.

Set amidst the chaos of a summer weekend at Coney Island, Undertow tells the story of Rhonda, a girl suddenly overwhelmed by events beyond her control. Her mother's alcoholism, her best friend's death...and now a social worker who's intent on making it all better. Only her brother seems to understand what she's going through, but even he doesn't think much of her plan to escape it all by finding a career.

A story of finding your way in life and deciding who you are, Undertow takes the reader on a tour of a side of the 1950's that didn't make it into the romance comics: heroin, sex, and hopelessness, with a dash of nightclub dancing and swimming after curfew.

Born on Long Island, Ellen, also editor of the The Strumpet, has been livng in London for the last seven years. Her classic style, intricate detail, and sharp storytelling let her readers explore a world that is otherwise unknown to them. She first self-published Undertow in 2009, and over the last few years she has participated in two UK comics collectives - Whores of Mensa and the more rcently-launched Comix Reader. Both exhibit the work and talent of underground comic illustrators and their underground work.

• Soaring Penguin Books:

• Ask for a copy at Gosh!, Orbital Comics or any other of the UK's fine comics retailers.

• This new hardcover of Undertow is on sale now in the UK and you can read the first chapter in Ellen's Undertow gallery

• Ellen's blog is here and her web site is here, and you can aso fnd her on Twitter

Friday, 3 February 2012

Autism Education Trust creates 'Awesome' superheroes

A new set of comic book characters, The 100% Awesomes, has been created by Doctor Who Adventures and Blake's 7 audio adventures writer Simon Guerrier for the Autism Education Trust to promote awareness of difference and autism.

The superhero characters are the stars of new teaching materials aimed at pupils in years five to seven.

The 100% Awesomes characters have been devised in consultation with the AET Youth Council, who decided how they should look and what super powers they should have. Written by science fiction writer Simon Guerrier, who has written Doctor Who novels, short stories and comics, and illustrated by William Potter, who has created comic strips for Doctor Who Magazine.

The four superheroes are The Moth, Alley Cat, No Beard and Tricksy Richard. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and two of them have autism. One does not speak and uses an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device to help her.

The Autism Education Trust is dedicated to coordinating, supporting and promoting effective education practice for all children and young people on the autism spectrum.

Launched in parliament in November 2007 with support and funding from the government, the AET is the only umbrella organisation working specifically on autism education across the voluntary, public and private sectors. It's funded by the Department of Education and was founded by Ambitious about Autism, The Council for Disabled Children and The National Autistic Society.

The AET helps raise awareness of the importance of appropriate educational provision for children and young people on the autism spectrum through a range of dedicated events, information sharing conferences, web based resources and ongoing research and project work.

The 100% Awesomes teaching pack includes a complete lesson plan, the comics, character cards and a teacher-guide DVD showing films of classes taking part in the lesson and interviews with teachers and pupils, as well as suggestions for follow up activities. During the lesson, students complete the comic strip adventure and solve the problems it presents. They must consider their own strengths and weaknesses and learn to celebrate differences in others.

The 100% Awesomes lesson whole class resource pack for schools,  including DVD guide is priced at £14.99. To order your copy call the AET on: 020 7903 3650 or email

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From script droid Gordon Rennie

Name: Gordon Rennie

Currently working on:

Dept of Monsterology, Absalom, Aquila, Judge Dredd, Robert Burns: Witch Hunter, Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays. Computer game stuff.

First memory of 2000AD?
I was there from Prog 1 (minus a wander off into the wilderness during the dark days of the early 1990s, when its pages were slathered in mud-like brown paint and ill-advised attempts to be wild, crazy and with it, by writers who needed to learn to walk before they could run.)

The thing that sticks most in the mind is an early cover for the story Flesh, featuring a guy in the jaws of a tyrannosaur, and calling out to his mate. “Shoot me, boss! Don’t let Old One Eye eat me alive!” They don’t write dialogue like that anymore....thank the heavens!

Favourite Character or Story?

Dredd. Early Zenith. The ABC Warriors. But not Strontium Dog, because he’s got stupid, stupid hair.

What do you like most about 2000AD?

As a writer – the scope to do a variety of very different stories. As a reader, being able to read that same variety. And all the sly (and not so sly) jokes.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?

Dredd getting a hefty reboot up the arse. God knows the old slugger needs something to keep him and his world fresh and moving forward.

If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

Well, there was the time when a previous Tharg regime told me I’d never write for the title. My, but how we still laugh about that to this day.

• This post is one in a series of tributes to 2000AD to mark its 35th birthday on 26th February 2012. More about 2000AD at

2000AD © Rebellion

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From art droid Rufus Dayglo

Name: Rufus Dayglo, artdroid


Currently working on:

I’m working on my new creator owned series Solid Gold Death Mask, which you’ll be able to get free from the website,, so bookmark it now!

I’m also drawing Judge Dredd for 2000AD, working on The Unwritten for Vertigo (DC Comics), and designing 2000AD toys for 3A Toys.

First memory of 2000AD?

It was one of the first comics I read…. I loved Ramon Sola’s Flesh strip, and later Mick McMahon’s Judge Dredd, and Carlos Ezquerra’s Strontium Dog. It completely informed my opinion of comics, and art!

Favourite Character or Story?

Judge Dredd, the first comic character I wanted to draw.

Sooner or Later, and Swifty’s Return, for Brendan McCarty and Jamie Hewlett’s excellent art, and Pete Milligan’s script.

Bad Company, Future war, monsters, and Ewins and Milligan at their best.

Flesh… you're reading it, they’re eating it! Ramon Sola doing what he does best, Killer Dinosaurs and ripped up cowboys.

What do you like most about the 2000AD?

The diversity, and inconsistency, and the chances they’ve taken …on series, artists, and writers. It's got so many worlds, and creators can play with them all.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?

Online, weekly episodes, to download, and custom printable Trade Paper Backs from the archives… (You picking the content from the vast library, like buying an ipod collection)

Do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

Brett Ewins and I started working on a short prequel to Bad Company, I’d still love to finish it…

• This post is one in a series of tributes to 2000AD to mark its 35th birthday on 26th February 2012. More about 2000AD at

2000AD © Rebellion

Classic images captured in new jigsaws

Children of the late 1950s and early 60s who eagerly awaited birthdays and Christmas in the hope of receiving a fast paced Scalextric or iconic Corgi James Bond Aston Martin DB5 are in for a real treat with the launch of Gibsons latest 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles depicting the ultimate toys of that time.

These new releases join a number of puzzles featuring art from classic toys - and comics.
First hitting the shop shelves in 1957, Scalextric was an immediate winner and initial demand was so strong that that the original manufacturers were barely able to keep up. Just as popular today, Scalextric is synonymous with the term 'slot racing' and apart from moulded plastic replacing the tin plate cars and a few other technical refinements, remains the much loved racing game we're all familiar with today.

Likewise, there are few boys who didn't own a collection of coveted Corgi die-cast cars and Gibsons' new jigsaw puzzle shows all of the features pioneered by Corgi including clear windows, opening doors, detailed interiors and removable wheels.

Also in Gibsons catalogue are these fun Beano and Dandy jigsaws - just two of many from the company's catalogue utilising art from classic products of yesteryer such as model kit company Airfix and train company Hornby.

Established in 1919, Gibsons is a British icon in its own right, with a plethora of awards for many of its jigsaw puzzles and games.

With both IPC and Egmont licensing their comic art, wouldn't it be great to see some other classic comics covers as jigsaws? Which would you choose?

• More info at:

Call for Papers: From Akira to Žižek: Comics and Contemporary Cultural Theory

Papers are now being invited for the academic comics tome Studies in Comics (volume 3.2).  

Guest editor Tony Venezia tell us this special issue - sub-titled From Akira to Žižek: Comics and Contemporary Cultural Theory seeks to provide a forum for new articulations between comics studies and contemporary cultural theory. 

Be warned, it's heady stuff for those of us with low attention spans, perhaps. "The importance and continued relevance of post-structuralist/postmodernist thought, the Frankfurt school’s studies of mass culture, McLuhan’s media theory and Bourdieu’s critical sociology are rightly acknowledged," notes Tony.  

"Such figures dominate theoretical academic discourse on comics, as in other areas of cultural studies, often at the expense of engagement with alternative strands of critical thinking. 

Rather than risking stagnation, Tony argues comics studies needs to "critically engage with theoretical paradigms not yet sourced".  And that's the brief for this volume.

Submissions are welcome from scholars and enthusiasts that explore the conjunctions of comics and cultural theory.  These could be engagements with the work of specific thinkers or emergent schools including, but not limited to: 

Bruno Latour and ANT – Michel Serres – Paul Virilio – eco-criticism – thing theory - N. Katherine Hayles – Teresa de Lauretis - Franco Moretti – Manuel De Landa – Manuel Castells - cognitive capitalism – transmedia narratives – Giorgio Agamben – Édouard Gissant – Jacques Rancière – Friedrich Kittler – non-representational theory - speculative realism/materialism - Alain Badiou – Zygmunt Bauman – Rosi Braidotti – Antonio Negri – Jan van Dijk - affect theory – Lev Manovitch - Kojin Karatani – visual culture studies - and Slavoj Žižek...

Articles should be 4,000-8,000 words from any discipline with a strong critical focus.  Abstracts should be received by 1st May 2012 in the first instance.  Please send 300 word abstracts to and include the word ARTICLE in the subject heading.  Please indicate the intended word count of the article.  

Completed papers will be required by 15th August 2012.  All submissions are peer reviewed and papers must be in English.  Reviews of publications and exhibitions are also welcome, as are creative submissions, by the same deadlines indicated above.

- More info:,id=168/view,page=2/

The Trial of Dennis the Menace: More Details

We mentioned this before as part of a longer post but it is worth mentioning again by itself. The new children's musical The Trial of Dennis the Menace will be taking place in London's Southbank Centre's Purcell Room over the weekend of 17-19th February as part of the Imagine Children's Festival.

The play is written by Caroline Bird with original music by Matt Rogers and was commissioned by Southbank Centre, with The Sage Gateshead and Juice Festival, and Glasgow UNESCO City of Music, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation

It is recommended for ages seven and over and is described as "An hour of music, words and action for Beano-lovers big and small. Beanotown is in crisis. Who stole the mayor's gold chain? Someone is trying to put the blame on Dennis and the grownups of Beanotown are declaring war on fun. We say the kids aren't guilty! Who's on their side? Children unite!"

Date and times are as follows -

Friday 17 February 2012 - 2.30pm
Saturday 18 February 2012, - 2.45pm & 5.00pm
Sunday 19 February 2012 - 1.30pm & 4.00pm

Ticket costs are as follows -

Prices: £12 (adults) £6 (children)
Booking Fee: £1.75 (Members £0.00)
Concessions: 50% off (limited availability)

There are more details of the musical and how to book tickets on the South Bank Centre's website.

There is a short interview with the star of the musical on the Beano's website.

 The Beano © DC Thomson & Co Ltd

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Panel Borders: Searching comics with DJ Food

Starting a month of Panel Borders radio shows about non practitioners' love for comics, guest presenter Robin Warren talks to musician and 2000AD fan  Strictly Kev about collaborating with Henry Flint on the artwork for his new LP The Search Engine and the three EPs that make up the release.

Robin and Kev talk about the latter's interest in British anthologies, especially 2000AD, and how a love of comics in his formative years compliments his music production as DJ Food and with The Cinematic Orchestra.

• Panel Borders: Searching comics with DJ Food airs at 8.00pm, Sunday 5th February, Resonance FM (London). More info:

• Strictly Kev official web site:

You can buy The Search Engine in various formats here

Invasion Alerts and Commando Cooks!

Here's the latest Commando war comics on sale now in all good UK newsagents and for iPad and iPhone...

Commando No 4467 - Invasion Alert
Story: Mac MacDonald Art: Carlos Pino Cover: Carlos Pino

It was a dark and stormy night when four Home Guard men began swapping war stories while they waited for their unit's youngest member to turn up. As they talked, it became obvious they had seen action the world over, on land and in the air.

These were men tested in the fire of battle and not found wanting.

Invaders beware!

Commando 4468: Giant!
Story: Alan Hebden Art: Rezzonico Cover: Ian Kennedy

Flight Lieutenant Graham Granger, his co-pilot, Paul Denning and the crew of their RAF Beaufort couldn't believe the sheer size of the German Me323 Gigant transport aircraft when they first saw one in the skies over North Africa. As it burst from the clouds and almost collided with them, they understood why it was called the “Giant”.

Little did they know that they'd encounter more of the airborne monsters very soon. They'd even, on a daring mission to enemy territory, end up flying one!

Commando No 4469: Death Mission
Originally Commando No 34 (August 1962)
Story: Spence Art: Gordon Livingstone Cover: Ken Barr

IN BLOOD AND SAND... 200 blistering, bullet-whipped desert miles they went behind enemy lines, a handful of men on a mission that was almost certain death. Their task - to blow to smithereens Rommel's most vital supply port, crippling his infamous Afrika Korps.

Success could save thousands of Allied lives. But British desert HQ knew success was a chance in a million.

Trouble is, no-one could tell these volunteers that they were expected to fail, to be captured and killed. They wouldn't listen. They just wouldn't believe it.

For these were no ordinary soldiers...

"This story from Commando's Gold Collection is a 24-carat classic," argues Commando Editor Calum Laird. "From Ken Barr's full throttle cover to the back cover's opening line - “In Blood And Sand…” - to the final frame it's action all the way. All that with main characters who are as hostile to each other as they are to the enemy.

"Artist Gordon Livingstone, who brought this Spence strip to life, was in his first year as a Commando artist but there is his trademark fine line and eye for detail. Never was the experience of National Service in British uniform so well used.

"It may be 50 years old, but this Golden Oldie is fresh as a daisy."

Commando No 4470: Big Trouble For Corporal Hubert!
Originally Commando No 2061 (February 1987)
Story: Roger Sanderson Art: Terry Patrick Cover: Jeff Bevan

It was Christmas Eve, 1944, and a special section of tough German paratroopers were shooting at a British Army cook!

Poor Hubert - he was a very good cook indeed but he wasn't really much of a fighting man. However, the Germans had been told that he was carrying top-secret documents and that was enough for them.

Look out, Hubert!

"Here's a story from Commando's Silver Collection that's as delicious as the scrumptious fare created by its main character - army cook extraordinaire - Corporal Hubert Durande," says Deputy Editor Scott Montgomery. "The recipe for a jolly Commando yarn is as follows: Take one eccentric chef, add a dash of espionage, mix in a squad of crack British troops, a helping of Nazi villainy, and bring to the boil…

"This script was served up by Roger Sanderson, now the prolific author of Mills & Boon romance novels, and our compliments for the tasty visuals go to artists Terry Patrick and Jeff Bevan. I hope I've whetted your appetite for adventure... now enjoy the main course!"

• The Draw Your Weapons exhibition featuring art from Commando continues at the National Army Museum in London this month and runs until 30th April 2012. For the latest information visit:

• Official Commando web site:

Commando Official Facebook page

• Click here for subscription information or write to: D.C. Thomson & Co Ltd, The Subscribers Department, Commando Library, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL or Freephone (UK only) 0800 318846

Commando is also available for iPad and iPhone. The apps are free to download through the Apple iTunes App Store and a digital subscription is priced at £4.99 per month, compared to a £99 annual print subscription. For those not sure there are four free issues to download prior to making a purchase.

Commando Comics iPhone App on iTunes

Commando Comics iPad App on iTunes

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From former Tharg, Andy Diggle

Name:Andy Diggle 

Web site:

Currently working on:

Six Guns (for Marvel) with Davide Gianfelice - currently on sale; Rogue Trooper (2000AD) with Colin Wilson - a "What If?" one-off for the 35th birthday prog, February 2012; a creator owned project, Snapshot with Jock (Judge Dredd Megazine, March 2012); Lenny Zero n Zero's Seven (2000AD - coming soon); and Astonishing Captain America (Marvel) with Adi Granov - coming soon.Plus several new projects in the pipeline that I'm not allowed to discuss yet!

First memory of 2000AD? 

My very first memory of 2000AD was from before I even started reading it. A friend gave me the bionic stickers that were given away with Prog 2, and I remember my schoolteacher telling me to take them off my arms and legs (I was still in shorts!). I must have been 6 years old at the time.

But I didn't start actually reading 2000AD until a few years later, fool that I was.The first issue I ever read was Prog 210 in 1981, when I was 10 years old. My brother John had talked our parents into getting it, bless him. I remember being wowed by the Brian Bolland cover: Dredd snarling "Freeze!" to a perp half-frozen in liquid nitrogen. And the back cover was a Mean Arena pin-up by Steve Dillon. I loved it so much I cut it off and stuck it on my bedroom wall... 'til my big brother made me sellotape it back onto the prog! We should have bought two copies...

Favourite Character or Story?

Obviously Judge Dredd is the man, especially in the hands of John Wagner. But character-wise, personally I always preferred Johnny Alpha. I loved his quiet stoicism. He just deals with it, lets his actions speak for him. Still waters. An amazing reversal and cliffhanger could be as simple as him delivering the line: "You get the girl. I'm going to stop the execution." And you just know it's all going to kick off next prog!

As for a favourite 2000AD story, it's impossible to choose just one. There are so many. That comic quite literally changed the course of my life. But as an object lesson in the craft of story structure, The Apocalypse War takes a lot of beating.

That story starts with global nuclear apocalypse and contracts from there, distilling and focusing the drama into an ever tighter and tighter space, until it's like an inverted pyramid with the entire weight of the world resting on Dredd's finger on the nuclear button. Amazing.

What do you like most about 2000AD

Originality, variety and imagination.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties? 

Better digital strategy. Better branding and marketing support. Better multimedia exploitation.

If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions? 

As a former Tharg, sadly my anecdotes aren't for public consumption! But I made a lot of good friends there. What a great bunch of people.

• This post is one in a series of tributes to 2000AD to mark its 35th birthday on 26th February 2012. More about 2000AD at

2000AD © Rebellion

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From art droid Arthur Ranson

Mazeworld, written by Alan Grant, drawn by Arthur Ranson
Name: Arthur Ranson

Website, with blogs:

Present work:

Rather recklessly I have recently commenced producing in Paint software a ‘comic’ - Sirius. An Intergalactic Adventure - appearing on my web-site. Intended for my amusement, it has become a time consuming addiction that is probably ruining my chances of ever running a marathon.. Or running.

First memory of 2000AD?

My first memory of 2000AD was, hoping for work, nervously taking my samples to editor Richard Burton. Even at that time the young 2000AD’s reputation had grown to where many artists considered it was the hip place to be.

Unlike the impression that US comics gave - that they generally demanded a house style - 2000AD gave artists great scope for individualism. To my surprise, I not only got a promise of work but lunch too. A pint of beer, a curly sandwich and a career changing commission.

Judge Anderson pencilled by
Brian Bolland (inked by Gary Martin)
Favourite characters?

Apologies but number one really has to be Psi Judge Cassandra Anderson. Cass was my favourite when Brian Bolland was drawing it so I was well chuffed to be offered it and Alan Grant’s stories were great, giving Cass a greater consistency and humanity than any other comic strip character I can think of.

Johnny Alpha created by T.B. Glover, aka John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra in Strontium Dog. It never kept its appeal but it was one of the strips that on its early appearance, I would have liked to draw. A dramatic story with potential for a wide range of stories and settings plus character design that looked great.

Slaine, if only for the extraordinary art work by two exceptional artists. Glen Fabry and Simon Bisley. Whether in line or painted both men produced pages that were a real pleasure to see.

What do you like most about 2000AD?

The impressive thing about 2000AD is its courage. It has always seemed willing to try something new, use fresh artists, writers and concepts. Several things I was involved in would not have happened in a more hidebound comic and I got to read unexpected stuff and see some very good artwork. A list of people who have drawn or written for them will demonstrate just how good they are at talent spotting.

What would you like to see in 2000AD as it heads into it's Forties?

I have had many amazing ideas about what 2000AD might do over the years. Luckily none of them were ever taken up. My record on unsuccessful commercial ideas makes me ill suited to offering advice and reluctant to offer any concrete suggestions now.

Some platitude about keep up the good work is best I can do. Life begins at forty?

Do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

Despite his authoritarian manner not being the managerial style a liberal like myself should approve of, Tharg does seem to produce among his minions a marked sense of commitment.

This is not just a shabby attempt at self promotion but I was really impressed by the dedication and care of those responsible for the production of the MazeworldMazeworld graphic novel. So respect to backroom boys Graphic Novel Editor Keith Richardson, Graphic Designers Simon Parr and Luke Preece and judging by the book’s coverage, PR guy Michael Molcher.

• This post is part of a series of birthday tributes from a wide range of comic creators celebrating 2000AD's birthday on 26th February 2012. For more about 2000AD, visit

2000AD © Rebelllion

Tartan Bucket Prize Winning Strip In The New Beano

About this time last year the Dundee University Humanities Department, in conjunction with DC Thomson, launched the Tartan Bucket Prize competition to create, write and illustrate a new Beano and Dandy style children's humour comic strip.

At the conclusion of the Dundee Comics Day at Dundee University in October last year, Steve English was announced as the winner of the Tartan Bucket Prize. In addition to a cheque for £1000 and, quite literally, a tartan covered bucket full of DC Thomson goodies, its was also announced there that his strip, Belle's Magic Mobile, was to be published in The Beano.

Three months on and Belle's Magic Mobile is in the current issue of The Beano, number 3621, which has a cover price of £1.50.

There are more details about Steve English's work at his Football Earth website.

There are more details about The Beano at its website.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Hogan, Parkhouse on regular 'Resident Alien' title for Dark Horse

Resident Alien by Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse

US publisher Dark Horse has commissioned British creative duo Peter Hogan and Steve Parkhouse to bring their epic Dark Horse Presents tale of an alien hero named Harry to a fully fledged series! beginning with Resident Alien #0 in April.

In Resident Alien, a stranded alien seeks refuge in the small town of Patience, USA, where he hides undercover as a semi-retired doctor, masking his appearance using his unique mental abilities. Now known as Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle, all the alien wants is to be left alone until he’s rescued. 

However, when the town’s real doctor dies, “Dr. Harry” is pulled into medical service - and also finds himself smack dab in the middle of a murder mystery! He’d rather be fishing. 

“I blame Steve Parkhouse," says Peter Hogan, whose numerous credits include editorship of 1980s titles Crisis and Revolver and strips for 2000AD such as Durham Red and Robo-Hunter, as well as US books such as Tom Strong and Sandman. 

"Having collaborated with him long ago on a couple of stories for The Dreaming, I was keen to do so again - and anyone who’s ever seen Steve’s work (on The Bojeffries Saga or The Milkman Murders, to name but two) already knows the reason why: he’s stunningly good.

“We introduced our friendly alien to the world in the pages of Dark Horse Presents last year, and those installments have now been collected into Resident Alien #0. Over the next few months, you’ll learn a bit more about Harry and his supporting cast and watch as he attempts to catch a murderer - and that’s just for starters. This alien is here to stay.”

Steve Parkhouse's wide range of work, which also includes Doctor Who, The Spiral Path and the graphic album Angel Fire is a singular talent in British comics. It's great to know we're seeing him back in action.

- Resident Alien #0 is on sale in comic shops from 18th April 2012. Resident Alien #1 is on sale 23rd May 2012.

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From script droid Garth Ennis

Name: Garth Ennis

Blog or web site: No blog, no website.

Currently working on:

Working on The Boys, Battlefields (and other war stories), Nick Fury, Dicks III, Crossed, some more stuff still on the secret list.

First memory of 2000AD?

It would probably be seeing the cover of Prog 11 in my local newsagent and being instantly mesmerised. It had Mister Monday, the bloke from Dan Dare, telling us to follow him into the sun and share the death of a Martian warrior. I'd never, ever seen anything like it; I probably went for it like Stimpy for the wonderful, candy-like, shiny red button.

Inside you had M.A.C.H. 1 driving a souped-up Lagonda with a terrified boffin in the back through most of the Soviet bloc, and over several people while he was at it. You had Dredd - who looked amazing enough on his own - fighting the robot wars. You had Bill Savage being an angry mad bastard, ten times more mental than the slavering, rabid guard dogs that chewed their way through that episode. You had the Harlem Heroes up against Artie Gruber, and what in the name of God had happened to the guy to make him look like that? You had Dan Dare versus the Biogs and the spectacular death of the aforementioned Monday, drawn by Bellardinelli - that was eyes out on stalks time, as I recall.

But best of all, holiest of holies, you had dinosaurs in Flesh. Dinosaurs. And - all praise to the God of seven year-old psychopaths - they were... eating people...

Favourite Character or Story?

Favourites are hard. Probably Dredd overall, just because of the plethora of incredible stories, characters and moments we've had over the years. Stront, Slaine, Nemesis, ABCs/RoBusters and Rogue have all yielded up their share of delights.

I recall being a big fan of Sam Slade's peculiar brand of long-suffering accidental heroism for a long time; the very last page of the first Robo Hunter storyline is still a sight to behold. Back at the beginning, Bill Savage as an out-and-out maniac and Dan Dare when Dave Gibbons really got going on the Space Fort stuff.

Panels from Flesh in Prog 11
But if I was thinking in terms of what first attracted me to the comic, what made me think, no, there is absolutely nothing else like this anywhere in the universe, then I think it would indeed have to be Flesh. You could feel the ground shake as Old One Eye charged her prey, hear the victims' screams as her huge teeth punched through their bodies and they were squeezed down into her black gullet, smell the hot blood as it poured off the page into your lap.

There's a Ramon Sola shot of the Tyrannosaur clans gathering (in the aforementioned prog 11) that I know I'm going to take to my grave.

What do you like most about the 2000AD?

That's another hard one. If I had to boil it down, probably the memory of reading it weekly as a kid and somehow always feeling just a little bit happier afterwards. It really sparked you up, if only briefly- it made bad days good and good days better.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?

Just keep hold of John Wagner. Keep him on Dredd, keep him on Stront. Do whatever it takes.

If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?

Not so much an anecdote, more an observation: I do think it would be nice if Steve MacManus got a bit more recognition. He seems to have been edited out of the photograph to a certain extent, and yet he was editor for 400 progs during the comic's heyday.

Sure, it's hard to go wrong with the level and variety of talent he had at his disposal, but I think Steve provided more than just a steady hand on the tiller.

• This post is part of a series of birthday tributes from a wide range of comic creators celebrating 2000AD's birthday on 26th February 2012. For more about 2000AD, visit

2000AD © Rebelllion

Happy Birthday, 2000AD! From script droid Alan Grant

Name: Alan Grant

Blog or web site: 

Check out for Alan's numerous 2000AD credits

Currently working on: 

I've just finished Part 5 of the new 6-part Cadet Anderson series, Algol; hopefully, the villain of the piece will re-emerge from the cubes 35 years later, to tie into current Anderson timelines as a major character.

Once that's done, I'll be thinking about a new Durham Red series, with original artist and co-creator Carlos Ezquerra.

First memory of 2000AD?    

John Wagner arriving at my house in Dundee, wanting to consult my collection of US Marvel/DC comics to make sure his new stories didn't use already-established ideas. John was working full-time on the new material for 2000AD, and asked me if I'd like to take over his commitment to writing Tarzan stories for European publication. So, although I didn't start work on 2000AD for another 18 months, 2000AD was actually the catalyst that got me my first break in comics.

Favourite Character or Story?

Much though I like Judge Dredd, I have to say my co-favourite characters are Strontium Dog and Psi-Judge Anderson. Favourite stories that I wrote or co-wrote were Anderson in Satan (art by Arthur Ranson) and Strontium Dog in Rage (art by Ezquerra).

My favourite Dredd story has to be America, by Wagner and Colin MacNeil. And there's an honourable mention for Alan Moore's DR and Quinch series.

What do you like most about the 2000AD?     

Its in-your-face, don't-give-a-shit attitude, which I'm very happy to see continued in stories by Al Ewing and Si Spurrier, amongst others.

What would you most like to see in 2000AD as it heads to its Forties?     

I'd like to see a story set in the near future employing the very real trials and tribulations of the current political/economic scene. While these matters are often projected into the future via Dredd stories, I think they can lose some of their immediacy in the process.

If you worked on 2000AD, do you have an anecdote you'd like to share about your experience of Tharg and his minions?     

Most of the ones I recall are too embarrassing to commit to print, involving large quantities of alcohol and a very liberal attitude to personal health and safety!

• This post is the first in a series of birthday tributes from a wide range of comic creators celebrating 2000AD's birthday on 26th February 2012. For more about 2000AD, visit

Judge Anderson © Rebelllion

Happy Birthday, 2000AD!

2000AD celebrates its 35th birthday this month its official birthday is 26th February, with Judge Dredd following one week later. Here at downthetubes we would like to wish the title - and everyone who has worked on it down the years - a very happy anniversary!

There will be plenty of celebrations to mark this thrill-powered occasion, with the 2000AD team lining up many convention appearances and anniversary book releases through 2012.

Throughout this month, we'll be posting some birthday wishes from many British comic creators recalling their first memory of 2000AD and their favourite characters. Contributors include writer Alan Grant, former 2000AD editor Andy Diggle, writer Garth Ennis, artists Arthur Ranson and Rufus Dayglo, Steve Yeowell and many others. Our thanks to everyone who has joined in with this celebration.

Other fans of the comic have also posted their messages here on the DTT Forum.

Launched in February 1977, 2000AD's blend of science fiction adventure stories, often barbed allegories about our own society (particularly within the pages of Judge Dredd) has been delighting comic fans for a long time.

However, the first issue was a different beast to the more 'adult' title of today - and Dredd wasn't even in the first 8p issue, which came with a free Space Spinner mini-frisbee. Instead, readers were treated to Invasion! - set in 1999, which saw Britain under the heel of the menacing Volgans, thinly-disguised Russians, and rebel Bill Savage leading the fight against them, out for revenge for the death of his family. Flesh pitted time-travelling humans against dinosaurs, with the reptiles often getting the upper hand; M.A.C.H. 1, a brutal homage to television's Six Million Dollar Man; and Harlem Heroes, a future sports strip drawn by Dave Gibbons.

Leading the title, though, was a revamped Dan Dare, written by Pat Mills, drawn by Massimo Belardinelli and featuring some amazing aliens, which IPC clearly felt was the comic's 'hook' to generate parental buys, although they would soon discover that this Dan was very unlike the square-jawed original from the 1950’s Eagle comic.

Back in 1977, there was nothing else like 2000AD on the shelves. Its combination of action adventure SF gripped thousands from the start, flouting traditional wisdom at publishers IPC that held that SF comics were poor sellers. Its roll call of characters down the years - Judge Dredd, Halo Jones, Robo-Hunter, Nemesis the Warlock, Sinister Dexter and many others - as well as its creators, is without equal.

2000AD rode high on the success of Star Wars when the first film was released later in the same year. 'SciFi' was hot and it helped the comic build a loyal audience, many of whom still reading it to this day. As a SF comic, it is now unique on the British news stand: a companion title, Starlord, proved short-lived and DC Thomson's long-running picture library title, Starblazer, was cancelled in 1991. Marvel UK's Star Wars Weekly title is now a distant memory and Doctor Who Weekly soon reduced its strip content after its launch in 1979 and went monthly, cutting back its fiction content still further.

2000AD deserves praise, not just for its sheer longevity and memorable characters, but for the huge number of comic creators it has given work to - many of them who then went on to create material for the US market.

A copy of the first issue of 2000AD might cost you over £100 to buy today if you find one with its space spinner intact. But the title's legacy is far more valuable to British comic fans.

Long may the thrill power continue!

• More about 2000AD at

londonprintstudio Comic Workshops continue

londonprintstudio art

Comics interns at the londonprintstudio, funded by the John Lyon's Charity are still running free comic workshops tailored towards 16-20 year olds, as a youth project.

Working under the mentor-ship of artist Karrie Fransman, the project is also offering the chance to have work created during these sessions exhibited at londonprintstudio.

The interns - Abraham Christie, Jade Sarson, Lily-Rose Beardshaw, Merlin Evans, Shamisa Debroey and Susan Yan Mach - are also woking on the production of a comics anthology in March entitled Parallel Lives, featuring comics made by them and the youngsters they're teaching. (More about anthology here

- The dates of upcoming workshops are listed here

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

STRIP Magazine overseas subscriptions, news stand plans

Non-UK subscriptions to Strip Magazine are now available online at

Previously, the only ways for non-UK comic fans to get the Print Media Productions-published title was via mail order from comic shops, or by purchasing the iPad edition, co-published in association with ROK Comics.

In the UK, a six-issue subscription now costs £16.99; Europe (including Eire), £36; US and Canada, £56 (air mail only); Rest of World, surface, £45, air mail £60.

12-issue subscriptions, part of the title's introductory launch, are no longer available online.

In other STRIP Magazine-related news, PMP have confirmed the comic magazine will go news stand with Issue 7, on sale in May. The price of the Magazine will also rise, but PMP have not stated what the cover price will be.

The initial plan is to target a range of top high street stores and the new title will include at least two new strips - Black Dragon, a steampunk-inspired story by Richmond Clements, editor of Futurequake and Judge Dredd artist Nick Dyer, and Crucible, an SF adventure masquerading as a fantasy tale, by John Freeman and Smuzz.

• Visit to subscribe

Comic Village Kicks Off 2012 with Double Midlands Dates

MCM Expo’s acclaimed Comic Village hits the road again this year, giving fans across the country the chance to check out the latest works by home-grown indie comics creators.

The first stop of 2012 is the popular Midlands Comic Con at Telford’s International Centre on 18th February, with a talented line-up featuring artists and writers such as Matthew Craig, Lily Mitchell, Jenika Ioffreda, Tanya Louisa Roberts, Tyler Wilson and Josh Clarke.

Comic Village stays in the Midlands for the brand new Birmingham Comic Con, which runs alongside the Memorabilia show at the NEC on 31st March and 1st April. Creators already confirmed for the show include Mogzilla, Lee Fenton-Wilkinson, Hester Macfarlane; John Maybury, David Paul Shirley, Rob Cureton and Sarah Childs.

Memorabilia visitors will also get the chance to check out all the comics goodness as well – ticket holders for either event will have access to the other show free of charge.

Dedicated to bringing together comic creators of all styles, mediums and levels to promote the good word of sequential art, the Comic Village will also be attending MCM comic conventions in London and Manchester during 2012.

• To buy tickets to the MCM Midlands Comic Con, the MCM Birmingham Comic Con and Memorabilia Birmingham, visit:

• To watch some of the special guest panels from recent MCM Expo events, go to and

• To stay up-to-date with MCM news, follow; or visit the MCM website at 

Monday, 30 January 2012

Bear Alley Books Presents CL Doughty

Cecil Langley Doughty is not a familiar artist, even to those of us who regularly write about the history of British comics, but Steve Holland is planning to change all that with Pages From History: Illustrated By CL Doughty, the next release from his Bear Alley Books imprint.

CL Doughty was born in Yorkshire in 1913 and contributed illustrations to the Radio Times, amongst other titles, before WWII. After spending the war in the army he returned to civilian life and began drawing comic strips for The Children's Newspaper, School Friend and the digest Thriller Picture Library. Later titles included Mickey Mouse Weekly, Swift, Girl, Princess and June before he moved over to the magazine Look and Learn. For Look and Learn, Doughty provided a varied selection of both historical comic strips and feature illustrations, much of which is featured in Pages From History.

In its 172 pages, the book includes an 11 page article on Doughty's life and career, over 60 pages of feature illustrations and more than 90 pages of comic strip including complete stories of Pott's Progress, The Crusader, A Sword For The Stadtholder and The Black Pirate, all from Look and Learn. The book also includes four pages of comic strip artwork from a Moll Moonlight strip that was probably created for the girl's comic School Friend around 1960 and has never been published before. Over half of all the artwork in the book has been scanned from the original artboards.

Pages From History: Illustrated By CL Doughty is available directly from the Bear Alley Books website and the cover price is £17.99. Anyone ordering a copy of the book before Friday 3 February 2012 will receive a 10% discount on the cover price.

The Bear Alley Books website is here and includes links to the trio of Eagles Over the Western Front books, written by Michael Butterworth and illustrated by Bill Lacey, and the Hurricane And Champion Comics Index book written by Steve Holland.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Team Girl Comic Issue 4 Now Available

The fourth issue of the Glasgow based Team Girl Comic is now available featuring twelve different artists presenting fifteen short comic strips.

This issue sees the return of Jude Stoo, Claire Yvette and Jessica Hatcher and has first appearances from MJ Wallace and Claire JC Stewart. With front cover artwork provided by Evy Craig, the issue also has a story by the team's youngest contributor to date, 11 year old Jasmine McPhee.

Issue 4, as well as previous issues, is available for £3 from the TGC website and the Team will be taking a table at the Glasgow Charity Comic Mart on Saturday 10 March 2012 which is taking place at the Britannia Panopticon Music Hall in Glasgow's Trongate between 11am and 4pm.

Before then Team Girl Comic editor Gillian Hatcher has been invited on to the Women In Comics panel at the Glasgow Film Festival on Thursday 23 February at 15:15 along with crime novelist Denise Mina, Phoenix writer/artist Kate Brown and animator Penny Sharp.

There are more details about Team Girl Comic at their website and Facebook page.

There are more details of the Glasgow Charity Comic Mart at its Facebook page.

There are more details of the Women In Comics panel on the Glasgow Film Festival website.

Latest News on

Contact downthetubes

• Got a British Comics News Story? E-mail downthetubes!

• Publishers: please contact for information on where to post review copies and other materials:

Click here to subscribe to our RSS NewsFeed

Powered by  FeedBurner